Sen. Rand Paul Says No Link Between Air Pollution and Asthma

President Obama telling us "Come on in! The water's fine." Meanwhile crabs are mutating and tar balls are still washing ashore to this day.

And the culture warriors continue to step up to the front lines in the war against the EPA and the environment.

Senator Rand Paul (R-Ky.) said on Nov. 10 in a Senate debate to:

[…] Be prepared for brownouts in your big cities, be prepared for days when there will no without electricity, but also be prepared for rising unemployment as these job-killing regulations put a stranglehold on the environment.


Emissions from utility plants have been declining for decades. In fact while coal based power has nearly doubled in the last several decades, emission have been reduced by 60%.

Lastly, he said:

We have decreased pollution and rising incidence of asthma. Either they are inversely proportional or they are not related at all.

Now before we take a look at each of these profound claims that Senator Paul confidently speaks about, let’s look at who he is and who he works for. Senator Paul is on the Energy and Natural Resources committee which overseas the oil and gas, timber, and mining companies. It regulates how much these industries are able to extract from natural resources on federal land. And it is up to committee members to decide how much these industries must pay the government in royalties and other payments (Funny how these companies have to pay the government royalties. Does the government own all of the land? What gives the government the right to own the Earth?).

Additionally, The Koch brothers of Koch Industries have donated $17,000 to Paul’s 2012 campaign. Koch Industries currently ranks third in donations behind Alliance Resource Partners and Mason Capital Management.

Senator Rand Paul's donors

Let’s also take a quick look at how much Koch Industries care about the surrounding environment when they do their business:

Getting back to the Senator’s claims, Senator Paul is correct in saying that pollution has been on the decline and in saying that there is an inverse relationship between rising asthma cases and decreased pollution. But he is insincere because he doesn’t reference the links between pollution and asthma. He also conveniently leaves out the evidence that supports the rising cases of asthma are linked to industrial pollution.

Coal consumption on the decrease

Senator Paul’s example is almost like a domestic abuser harming his wife for 10 years. Let’s say that he’s been verbally harassing her but he’s stopped doing so over the past few years. The wife has developed Dissociative Identity Disorder (DID) because of the previous abuse and it continues to get worse, but because there’s an inverse relationship between decreased domestic abuse and increased identity issues, we can therefore conclude that domestic abuse has no link to the wife’s mental anguish or identity disorders.

Second, Senator Paul’s absence of links and correlations between asthma and pollution makes it seem as though asthma is going up because of something other than pollution. Pollution is still high, even though it’s on the decrease. Though the Center for Disease Control (CDC) does not link high pollution to increased numbers of the population developing asthma, it does report,

Pollution caused by industrial emissions and automobile exhaust can cause an asthma attack.

The CDC then goes on to warn about red zone days and being vigilant for hazardous air quality days for those with asthma. Now we may not have the exact science to support that air pollution causes asthma, but if air pollution can trigger an asthma attack, I think it’s fair to assess that air pollution is not good for the public’s health, especially those with asthma.

Lastly, Paul is dishonest in saying that President Obama’s regulations would cause brownouts and days without electricity because Obama has chosen to wait until after the 2012 election to implement stricter EPA regulations. Therefore, Obama has left EPA enforcement of pollution standards in a tough position because the standards of pollution are still less than what the EPA advised under President Bush’s administration. This is because president Bush got involved in lowering the standard set by the EPA (The EPA wanted 75 parts per billion) after receiving pressure from the energy and business sector.

This is not to stand up for what Obama is doing because Obama is only waiting to regulate companies (possibly) until after the 2012 elections because he is afraid of upsetting the left more than he already has. He’d rather wait until after he’s re-elected (or not) to make a decision that could potentially harm the environment and the public’s health; Politicking 101.

But really Senator Paul? Stricter regulations on polluters would cause electricity to be turned off. I’m so sick of politicians on both sides of the aisle using fear tactics. Whether it’s the left scaring everyone talking about the icebergs are going to melt tomorrow (even though scientists are saying that climate change may be worse than originally thought) or the right saying that regulations will force businesses to go overseas and to shut down all operations.

The whole argument that regulations and green technology modifications to current standards would be costly is only 100% correct. Green technology implementation would be the most costly investment the world has ever seen, but that doesn’t mean we should give up so easily. I’m pretty sure that implementing a railroad and highway system were each the most expensive endeavors for the US in their respective times.

I just wish job creation and pollution control didn’t have to be mutually exclusive, but this is what the political system does. It breaks ideas up into black and white, making each issue turn into a left or right one. Most Americans want jobs and want a cleaner environment (not to mention that the jobs proposed by the left and the right are construction and dirty energy jobs, both of which are not innovative or what we need moving into the future). Why can’t our politicians want the same?


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